The Quest for the Holy Grail (part 3)


As I have already stated, the Quest for the Holy Grail begins with King Arthur, & I felt it important to ascertain the veracity of his existence. So far Ive pretty much done that, having established in my first two posts that (a) he was born in Tintagel & (b) his military career was acted out somewhere between the years of 488 & 547. Intriguingly, both the same location & time-scale can be applied to certain pieces of dark age broken pottery, coins & glasswork. Discovered at Tintagel itself, & monikered ‘Tintagelware,’ acccording to Rachael C Barrowman et al, there was’only a comparatively brief importation from the Mediterranean lasting from c.AD 475-c.AD 550 at the most.‘ Byzantine in origin, these dark-age relics are found in only a few other ‘elite-status’ sites across Britain, but by far the largest proportion being discovered at Tintagel itself.




One of the other Tintagelware sites is South Cadbury hillfort in Somerset.  The site has long been associated with King Arthur – the 16th century traveler & writer John Leland stating; ‘At the very south ende of the chirch of South-Cadbyri standith Camallate, sumtyme a famose toun or castelle, upon a very torre or hill, wunderfully enstrengtheid of nature, to the which be 2. enteringes up by very stepe way: one by north est and another by south west… The people can telle nothing ther but that they have hard say that Arture much restorid to Camalat.



South Cadbury is an impressive fortress, a worthy Camelot indeed, & was the site of a grand timber feasting hall thrust up by some powerful leader about the year 500 AD. It was named after a  dark-age king known as Cador, who we can conveniently connect to King Arthur. The monk Lifris, in his ‘Life of Saint Carantoc‘ places a certain Cato as ruling in the same time & the same region as King Arthur; ‘In those times Cato and Arthur were reigning in that country, dwelling in Dindraithov.‘The country in question was Dumnonia, the old Brythonic kingdom that covered the modern West Country counties of Cornwall, Devon & Somerset. The Dindraithov of Lifris appears as Dun Tradui in the Old Glossary of Cormac, which tells us the city was found, ‘in the lands of the Cornish Britons.’ The Glossary describes Dun Tradui as possessing a triple-fosse, which seem a perfect match for the three sets of concentric works surrounding the impressive South Cadbury hill-fort in Somerset.



Whether South Cadbury was Dindraithov or not  is not so important, it is the fact that Cador & Arthur are seen as joint-rulers in the West Country. Investigating the matter properly leads us to the Brut Tysillo, which spells Cador’s name as Kattwr, as in, ‘Meanwhile, Kattwr and his army attacked the ships of the ssaesson, and filled them with his own men.‘  Let us now return to the Jesus College genealogy from teh first blogpost, which shows the sons of Gorlois/Gliws;

Ewein vab keredic. Pedroc sant. Kynvarch. Edelic. Luip. Clesoeph. Sant. Perun. Saul. Peder.Katwaladyr. Meirchyawn. Gwrrai. Mur. Margam Amroeth. Gwher. Cornuill. Catwall. Cetweli.

Here, Catwall will be Kattwr, with R’s & L’s being exchanged through the phonetic forces of rhotacism. That Cador/Catwall was the son of Gorlois is also mentioned in both the Brut Tysillio, while a genealogy known as the Bonedd yr Arwyr tells us Cador (Kadwr) shared the same mother as Arthur.; ‘Kustenin ap Kadwr ap Gwrlais iarll Kernyw nai ap brawd vnvam ac Arthur.’ 


Kidwelly Castle - coincidentally used in Monty Python & the Holy Grail
Kidwelly Castle – coincidentally used in Monty Python & the Holy Grail


Catwall gave his name to Kidwelly, by Cardigan Bay in South Wales, close to the ancient realm of Glevesing. In essence, we can now see Arthur’s mother, Ygraine, having married into a great noble house, who ruled a pan-channel demense from Dyfed to Cornwall. Indeed, Tintagelware has also been found at Longbury Bank in Dyfed, & at Dinas Powys near Cardiff, while two genealogies in the Jesus College manuscript confirm such a notion, having the same line of succession for both the kingdom of Dumnonia and Gwent;





Returning to our boy,  as the Historia Brittonum tells us, Arthur was a Dux Bellorum – leader of battles – which is confirmed by two very antique texts. both of which have him leading men from the West Country. A poem known as the Dialogue of Arthur & Eliwood describes Arthur as ‘penn kadoed Kernyw’, or ‘head of the battalions of Cornwall,’ while the Vita of Saint Gildas tells us he, ‘roused the armies of the whole of Cornubia and Dibneria (Devon).’ That he was leading such forces at some point in his career allows us to imagine that at least one of his famous 12 battles was fought at the head of Dumnonian forces. Perhaps even his first battle, at the ‘Mouth of the River Glein…’





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